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HOW do you survive without a car?

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Living Car Free Do you live car free or car light? Do you prefer to use alternative transportation (bicycles, walking, other human-powered or public transportation) for everyday activities whenever possible? Discuss your lifestyle here.

HOW do you survive without a car?

Old 05-16-16, 10:22 PM
  #76  
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
It doesn't have to be "self-flagellation" .................. It's a choice to save my money and spend it at more events in the city where I live........ I spend my days using that car money to see shows and movies and otherwise the explore the place where I live.
I myself went (completely) car free for a period decades ago. Of course there were environmental concerns.... but my main objective was to keep life and spending modest. I saved (meaning put into a saving account) a lot of cash walking to and from work and carrying my lunch. I also enjoyed the effort and I enjoyed my connection to the weather and changing seasons.

I never saw my choice as surviving. But I don't get the impression that everyone feels the same (thread title).
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Old 05-17-16, 12:27 AM
  #77  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
I myself went (completely) car free for a period decades ago. Of course there were environmental concerns.... but my main objective was to keep life and spending modest. I saved (meaning put into a saving account) a lot of cash walking to and from work and carrying my lunch. I also enjoyed the effort and I enjoyed my connection to the weather and changing seasons.

I never saw my choice as surviving. But I don't get the impression that everyone feels the same (thread title).
I'm shocked, shocked, I tell you, to read these words. You're actually expressing concern for the environment and saying positive things about being car-free! Hallelujah!
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Old 05-17-16, 03:54 AM
  #78  
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Originally Posted by Dahon.Steve View Post
Yes.

Those who are motorized are able to buy drugs in larger quantities and sell them at greater distances. This limits them from being able to find high quality employment as they are constantly in and out of prison. Although they have motorized transportation, most are basically stuck in a poor neighborhoods since no one will hire a convict at high wages even if they have a car. It will limit their enjoyment of life and prevent the person from living their life to it's fullest potential.

Wait a second. I'm sounding like Wolfchild !!! LOL.
It is a fact that a very high percentage of drug abusers have at one time in their lives driven automobiles, so it is clear that motorcar driving is a gateway activity! Oh, dear!
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Old 05-17-16, 04:44 AM
  #79  
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
It doesn't have to be "self-flagellation" to make different choices. There are plenty of things I could do with a car that are challenging without one. I don't consider it a sacrifice that I'm making. It's just a choice. When I drove regularly, I would sometimes go to concerts in the neighboring towns. Now I go to a lot more shows close by. I don't say, "I would love to go see Band A in City B, but I refuse to compromise on my car-free lifestyle." Instead I say, "Is it worth it to have a car just so I can get to City B once every few months?" If the answer is "no" then I guess I'm doing alright. Otherwise it's time to go car shopping. The reality is that even before I got rid of my car, I was finding that biking to and from shows was more fun. I have access to a car much of the time because my wife has no interest in being car-free. As a result, I could spend a lot more time at activities that are further away or would otherwise benefit from a car, but it's very rare that I drive my wife's car. Not because I'm punishing myself, but because I like my lifestyle. If my life would be improved by driving more, then I guess I'd have to get a car. But I've tried it both ways, and I find I enjoy life more when I rely on a car less. I also enjoy the freedom to do more. Yes, an event 20 miles away is a challenge. But to get a car just for that situation is to give up a lot. By not having a car, I can budget a lot more towards entertainment, or whatever I want, really. It's not a sacrifice to miss a show in City B. It's a choice to save my money and spend it at more events in the city where I live. I don't spend my days twiddling my thumbs and thinking about the placed I would drive if I had a car. I spend my days using that car money to see shows and movies and otherwise the explore the place where I live.
Well put. Even if you have a car then you still have limited range. You can comfortably drive somewhere special for dinner that's 20 miles from home. But what about 200 or 2000 miles? Do you anguish about not being able to visit the moon? No. Your mind naturally focuses on places within your range.

Having a car probably increases your range by a factor of four or five. Having a private jet would do that again. Is it worth it? Maybe you could move someplace more interesting instead? I live in a big city with lots to do and see. I could go farther with a car. I don't feel the need. My world is big and varied as it is.
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Old 05-17-16, 05:06 AM
  #80  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
Well put. Even if you have a car then you still have limited range. You can comfortably drive somewhere special for dinner that's 20 miles from home. But what about 200 or 2000 miles? Do you anguish about not being able to visit the moon? No. Your mind naturally focuses on places within your range.

Having a car probably increases your range by a factor of four or five. Having a private jet would do that again. Is it worth it? Maybe you could move someplace more interesting instead? I live in a big city with lots to do and see. I could go farther with a car. I don't feel the need. My world is big and varied as it is.
+1. Another thing to consider is that once a certain percentage of the population becomes car-free, or is simply unwilling to drive unnecesssarily, promoters have a tendency to change the venues of their events to more centralised locations. If they want to have a play or a concert out in the suburbs, good luck to them. I'm not going.

Last edited by Ekdog; 05-17-16 at 05:12 AM.
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Old 05-17-16, 08:41 AM
  #81  
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Originally Posted by Ekdog View Post
...... You're actually expressing concern for the environment and saying positive things about being car-free! Hallelujah!
Oh give me a break!!!! I was very much involved in the push the for the clean air act (as amended in 1970). But the movement has changed (IMHO).

Last edited by Dave Cutter; 05-17-16 at 09:30 AM.
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Old 05-17-16, 08:48 AM
  #82  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
...... Do you anguish about not being able to visit the moon? No. Your mind naturally focuses on places within your range.
Anguish is an odd word selection (IMHO). But... YES I do often think of places I'd like to see/visit (that I haven't yet). The moon of course is our closet neighboring planet... and who wouldn't want to go there. Travel and exploration is in the human DNA.
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Old 05-17-16, 08:56 AM
  #83  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Anguish is an odd word selection (IMHO). But... YES I do often think of places I'd like to see/visit (that I haven't yet). The moon of course is our closet neighboring planet... and who wouldn't want to go there. Travel and exploration is in the human DNA.
I love to travel too. But the quality of the journey is more important to me than the distance in miles of the destination. So far away (distance vs time) is not important to me. I would MUCH rather travel on my bicycle and intimately traverse 500 miles in a week than travel by car and go 2500 miles while not seeing and enjoying my surroundings nearly as much.
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Old 05-17-16, 09:40 AM
  #84  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
.... So far away (distance vs time) is not important to me. I would MUCH rather travel on my bicycle....
I'd think cycling to the moon would be even more overwhelming... than by spacecraft. My thought would be every job has it's own correct tool. It's just darn silly to drive a car down the street to the restaurant or whatever. To me... it's just as silly to limit a life to a circumference of their own physical limitations.

That is what I meant by self-flagellation.... or maybe better put as penance. But then... the word anguish pops into the discussion/posts.
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Old 05-17-16, 09:50 AM
  #85  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
I'd think cycling to the moon would be even more overwhelming... than by spacecraft. My thought would be every job has it's own correct tool. It's just darn silly to drive a car down the street to the restaurant or whatever. To me... it's just as silly to limit a life to a circumference of their own physical limitations.
I think the point some are trying to make is that it isn't a limitation, or self-denial, it's a choice. As previously discussed, most car-free folk are not die-hard anti-car types - they just prefer to minimize their car use. Sure, if they want to see Yellowstone, they might rent a car, but the rest of the time, they are happy to carry out local chores and see local sights or visit local attractions by bike rather than car.
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Old 05-17-16, 10:17 AM
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
I think the point some are trying to make is that it isn't a limitation, or self-denial, it's a choice. As previously discussed, most car-free folk are not die-hard anti-car types - they just prefer to minimize their car use. Sure, if they want to see Yellowstone, they might rent a car, but the rest of the time, they are happy to carry out local chores and see local sights or visit local attractions by bike rather than car.
Yes. I want to enjoy my life. I don't enjoy cars and driving. I find much more pleasure combined with almost magically sustaining fitness benefits in traveling by bicycle.

Why do I have to go by car just so I can cover more miles? You can say I'm limiting my destinations. But destinations aren't all they're built up to be. The journey there is what it's all about to me.

BTW I've enjoyed biking Yellowstone. I flew out there and rented a car and then a bicycle. It was awesome.

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Old 05-17-16, 10:28 AM
  #87  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
I'd think cycling to the moon would be even more overwhelming... than by spacecraft.
It's good to know you wouldn't try that dangerous journey on your bicycle. Although I doubt you would get to the dangerous part without something more than pedaling
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Old 05-17-16, 12:39 PM
  #88  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
...To me... it's just as silly to limit a life to a circumference of their own physical limitations.

That is what I meant by self-flagellation.... or maybe better put as penance. But then... the word anguish pops into the discussion/posts.
I don't think of it that way. I suspect a lot of my cohorts don't see it that way. In fact, it's literally not that way. I don't drive, or at least drive very rarely. And yet, I would not define my life as limited to a circumference of my own physical limitations. I bus, I fly, I take the train. I go pretty much wherever I want. I just don't usually use a car to get there. "self-flagellation" "penance" "anguish" all sound like someone is painfully coping with the absence of a car. I certainly am not. And, yes, the title of this thread also makes it sound like some Herculean effort is required. I also don't find that to be the case.

How do I survive without a car? The first step, which has been pointed out, is finding a home and work situation that doesn't require a car. I know some people struggle with this, but for me it is something I tried to do even when I had a car. I don't enjoy driving, and I especially don't enjoy the necessity of it, so long before I gave up my car, I made an effort to keep home and work accessible to each other without a car. It really hasn't been that hard.

When I got back into riding, I started looking at what other places I could ride to where I was currently using the car. At first it was a challenge to see if I could carry everything I needed from the store, for example, or see if I could compensate for the weather, or whatever perceived obstacles there were to riding vs. driving. But soon it became second nature. The mechanics of how I "survive" without a car are not that abnormal. A rain coat and some panniers make it possible. Once I was using bike and bus to get almost everywhere I needed to go, the car started to go from a benign part of my life to being an annoyance. I try to start the car for the first time in 6 weeks and find that cold weather has killed the battery. I try to fix a burnt out turn signal and find a wasps' nest. I use it on one of my rare trips out of town, and it breaks down.

When I got rid of that thing, it wasn't about how I was going to survive without it. It was about recognizing that it was more work and money owning and maintaining a car just for those 10% of remaining trips where I used it, than it would be just to get rid of it, and find another way. Not having a car is not a source of pain for me. It's just recognition that if I don't need a car to get around, then just having one because you're expected to is nothing more than a way to waste money and time.
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Old 05-17-16, 01:14 PM
  #89  
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Originally Posted by Rob_E View Post
....... I don't drive, or at least drive very rarely. And yet, I would not define my life as limited to a circumference of my own physical limitations. I bus, I fly, I take the train. I go pretty much wherever I want. I just don't usually use a car to get there. "self-flagellation" "penance" "anguish" all sound like someone is painfully coping with the absence of a car. I certainly am not. And, yes, the title of this thread also makes it sound like some Herculean effort is required. I also don't find that to be the case.
And yet in this and similar threads... many of the posts (even in this one you just posted)... I don't find the joy. Please don't take this as criticism! That is NOT my intention.

I love cycling. I bicycle because I can. Cycling is my own, openly admitted, selfish pleasure. Cycling brings me joy and happiness. I accept any dangers (real or perceived) and discard any associated fears (as best this human can). I find others in other threads that share these same feelings in their posts. But in the LCF and A&S threads... I don't read of the joy.

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Old 05-17-16, 01:29 PM
  #90  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
And yet in this and similar threads... many of the posts (even in this one you just posted)... I don't find the joy. Please don't take this as criticism! That is NOT my intention.

I love cycling. I bicycle because I can. Cycling is my own, openly admitted, selfish pleasure. Cycling brings me joy and happiness. I accept any dangers (real or perceived) and discard any associated fears (as best this human can). I find others in other threads that share these same feelings in their posts. But in the LCF and A&S threads... I don't read of the joy.
We're not only motivated by joy - we also sometimes do unpleasant stuff when we feel it is necessary or the responsible thing to do. I bike to work partly because I usually enjoy it, but also, as previously mentioned, partly because when it sucks, it still sucks less than driving, and partly because I personally think it is a more responsible way to commute.
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Old 05-17-16, 01:39 PM
  #91  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
We're not only motivated by joy - we also sometimes do unpleasant stuff when we feel it is necessary or the responsible thing to do. I bike to work partly because I usually enjoy it, but also, as previously mentioned, partly because when it sucks, it still sucks less than driving, and partly because I personally think it is a more responsible way to commute.
Yeah! That's the kind of posts I usually see here.
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Old 05-17-16, 02:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
Yeah! That's the kind of posts I usually see here.
I'm sure there are some chores you do out of a sense of responsibility. It helps if you enjoy them, but they have to be done even when you don't.
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Old 05-17-16, 02:25 PM
  #93  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
I also wondered if local people ride bikes around the city much. You said it seemed too dangerous, but people say that about every city in the world. Do you have any experience at riding in heavy car traffic anywhere else? If so, how does Jeddah compare to other cities that you've ridden in?
Damascus, Syria. I spent half a summer there in 1996. Lots of traffic, but motorists seemed to be much more astute about sharing the streets with cyclists, since a much greater percentage of the population used bikes to get around compared to Jordan.

Speaking of which, traffic in today's Jordan is a far cry from what it used to be in 1990s Jordan. The population was significantly smaller and there were far fewer cars, so while I practically had the road all to myself most of the time back then, I'd think twice about venturing our on a bicycle in today's Irbid or Amman.

The same is true for Jeddah in 2003 vs. 2016. As much as I'm enjoying my return to cycling today, I wouldn't venture out onto any of the city's major arteries, but I probably would've felt safe doing just that if I had been cycling in 2003 or 2004 after I had just moved there.

Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Are there some males you haven't met who don't drive? They would probably give you better info on the topic than the ones who do drive. And how do women get around? I noticed both males and femsles in the pictures you posted earlier.
All sarcasm and politics aside, I wanted to do this when I had some free time on my hands and while sitting down.

As a matter of fact, apart from the very poor workers who can't afford cars and legally can't get driver's licenses, I haven't met any males in this country, Saudi or otherwise who don't drive. The first thing every professional expat starts making plans to do when they are hired into the country - after renting a place to live if housing wasn't in the contract - is to buy a car. Historically, with fuel having been so cheap and automobiles being so easy to obtain, boys are steeped in car culture from a young age, so as soon as they turn 18, all they want is their own car. The a few kids of my Saudi in-laws have just entered the 14-17 age range, and all they talk about is cars, cars, cars (besides the never-ending debate of Dwayne Johnson vs. John Sena.)

As for women getting around, most well-off families (ours included) have hired, full-time drivers, albeit now Uber is getting more and more popular. Calls to allow women to drive have been getting stronger since the 1990s, and the ongoing national debate between the supporters (the "doomed-to-hell liberals" as some religious fanatics would call them) and the detractors (the "backward, closed-minded religious cavemen" as some of the more intense activists would call them) gets bitingly intense at times, and there's a growing overall general feeling that this could happen sometime soon.
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Old 05-17-16, 02:39 PM
  #94  
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Originally Posted by Dave Cutter View Post
And yet in this and similar threads... many of the posts (even in this one you just posted)... I don't find the joy. Please don't take this as criticism! That is NOT my intention.

I love cycling. I bicycle because I can. Cycling is my own, openly admitted, selfish pleasure. Cycling brings me joy and happiness. I accept any dangers (real or perceived) and discard any associated fears (as best this human can). I find others in other threads that share these same feelings in their posts. But in the LCF and A&S threads... I don't read of the joy.
My understanding of the point of this thread was that it was about the basic mechanics of living without a car. You don't find the joy? That's okay. I don't find the joy in brushing my teeth. It needs doing and I do it. Until they fall out and I can join the Living Teeth Free forum.

There is a thread just a couple down from here about what people like about being car lite. Maybe you'll find more joy there. Maybe not. Ultimately, while I would like to see this subforum be more inspirational, it seems to attract a lot of people who don't actually have interest in being car-free or car-lite, but who simply want to denigrate people who do have an interest. So instead of being a celebration of a shared lifestyle, it becomes a lot of bickering. But there are still things to be learned from the experiences of others and things to share, so I pop in from time to time, but you're right, there is some joy missing. I don't know that it's missing in the lives of the car-free/lite folks, but if you want to find it, you have to overlook the constant nay-saying that surrounds this forum.

The other part for me is, this subforum is almost by necessity anti-car. It's not that everyone hates them and wishes they didn't exist, but many people have made a conscious decision to limit their involvement in or not take part in car culture. While the act of living without a car might not be a struggle for everyone, explaining that in a society built around car ownership can be a struggle. A year after selling my car, I spent a weekend camping with some people and, in the course of another story, happened to mention that I no longer have a car. One of the people broke in, "Wait, what do you mean 'you don't have a car'?" For the rest of the weekend he would occasionally corner me and say, "Tell me more about how you don't have a car." Not in an unkind way, but with a certain amount of disbelief. For some people, living without a car is unimaginable. So there's an aspect of this subforum that's based on justifying choices and sometimes about talking more about what we didn't like about relying on a car more than about what we like about our current life. This subforum's existence is based on the idea that not owning a car is abnormal. If it were the norm, there'd be no need of a subform. So, while I, personally, find not having a car to be a very liberating experience, it is a concept not everyone takes to, and some people react negatively to. And in the end there are possibly more posts from people justifying their car use than there are people expressing their own pleasure with their lifestyle.

In the end, a lot of what remains good about this subforum is not the inspiration, but the practical advice, like what this thread seems to be trying hard to focus on.

But maybe that's not so odd. There are some good touring stories in the touring forum, but I would say the vast majority of posts are mundane and practical. Not in a bad way, but there it is. Much of what I read anywhere in bikeforums is about people trying to solve problems. The joy isn't found in reading a forum about bikes. The joy is on your bike. Go look and see.
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Old 05-17-16, 02:50 PM
  #95  
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Originally Posted by Roody View Post
Please take the title of this thread literally. Tell us HOW you do it. How have you have adjusted your habits or developed new skills in order to be carfree, or at least less dependent on cars?

If you read this forum, I assume you have an interest in being less car-dependent. Pass along some of what you've learned to help others who share your interest in being carfree or less car-dependent,

(Obviously you don't have to be carfree to participate--just less dependent on cars than you once were.)
When I've been car-free for weeks or months at a time in the past few years, I've rode motorcycles. Sometimes a bike-bus-bike commute, as weather, schedule, and health permitted, but having a motorcycle has been handy. Also, again as weather permits, I will go car-free for as much of the Summer as I can while logging miles on a motorcycle.
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Old 05-17-16, 03:22 PM
  #96  
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Originally Posted by sjanzeir View Post
As for women getting around, most well-off families (ours included) have hired, full-time drivers, albeit now Uber is getting more and more popular. Calls to allow women to drive have been getting stronger since the 1990s, and the ongoing national debate between the supporters (the "doomed-to-hell liberals" as some religious fanatics would call them) and the detractors (the "backward, closed-minded religious cavemen" as some of the more intense activists would call them) gets bitingly intense at times, and there's a growing overall general feeling that this could happen sometime soon.
Thanks for the very informative update. It is ironic that people in the car-free forum would be cheering for women being able to drive, but of course it is about more than that.
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Old 05-17-16, 04:11 PM
  #97  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
Thanks for the very informative update. It is ironic that people in the car-free forum would be cheering for women being able to drive, but of course it is about more than that.
**admin edited to remove political content**

Last edited by CbadRider; 05-18-16 at 08:39 PM. Reason: keeping the thread from going to P&R
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Old 05-17-16, 08:26 PM
  #98  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
Well put. Even if you have a car then you still have limited range. You can comfortably drive somewhere special for dinner that's 20 miles from home. But what about 200 or 2000 miles? Do you anguish about not being able to visit the moon? No. Your mind naturally focuses on places within your range.

Having a car probably increases your range by a factor of four or five. Having a private jet would do that again. Is it worth it? Maybe you could move someplace more interesting instead? I live in a big city with lots to do and see. I could go farther with a car. I don't feel the need. My world is big and varied as it is.
If you been to one shopping mall, you've been to them all. If you been to one supermarket, you've been to them all. There is nothing I can get in the suburbs that cannot be found in the city or online.

Unless there are friends and family, there is really no reason for you to even go there.

Well, I only do it for the challenge it brings in riding back home.
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Old 05-17-16, 08:32 PM
  #99  
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Originally Posted by Walter S View Post
. .. Do you anguish about not being able to visit the moon? No. Your mind naturally focuses on places within your range.
Speak for yourself. I saw Neil Armstrong walk on the moon when I was 5 years old. And I had this book when I was a kid.

Granted, I have learned to live Rocket-ship Free. But that doesn't mean I'm happy about it


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Old 05-17-16, 09:03 PM
  #100  
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Originally Posted by cooker View Post
I don't enjoy driving to work in rush hour traffic . ..
Originally Posted by blackieoneshot View Post

Embrace a slower paced life.
Originally Posted by JBHoren View Post

Somewhere along the line I recognized "the tyranny of the auto", and understood that having one "obliged" its owner to use it
Originally Posted by P_M View Post
This has been one of the biggest influences in my recovery from severe anxiety. I was overwhelmed by a lot of things and the car and driving in this city contributed to that.
This is one of the things that I think a lot of the population just doesn't understand, because they've never tried it, or never had the opportunity to try. It's like in the Matrix . . people have this feeling . .. there is something wrong with the world. Then, when you start taking mass transit, you figure it out. Driving is super stressful!

The "How" was getting a bus pass. But the elimination of the stressful drive is the hook that keeps me going, even though transit may at times take longer.

White knuckle drive, with everyone trying to cut you off, tailgating, texting, nobody using their signal, nobody letting you in when you need to change lanes, the worry that some idiot is going to crash into you - and they are ALL idiots! - and I can get home in 45 minutes.

OR, I get some exercise, walk 20 minutes to the bus stop, then relax on the bus for 40 minutes.
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